MANILA - The Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday denied that it approved without due process power supply agreements for the Manila Electric Co.
"The ERC at that time only accepted applications... Acceptance of applications does not mean it has guarantee of approval," ERC Commissioner Alfredo Non told a congressional hearing.
Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate earlier alleged the ERC approved the P1.7-billion transmission line for a power plant of a subsidiary of Manila Electric Co. without undergoing proper bidding.
Zarate said the construction of the transmission lines led to the approval of power supply agreements that would saddle consumers with higher power rates in the next 20 years.
"Last June 15, ERC already approve the construction lines related to Atimonan. Bakit mo naman iaapprove 'yung transmission line if you won't approve the power supply itself?" Zarate said during Tuesday's hearing.
(Why would you approve the transmission line if you won't approve the power supply itself.)
But the ERC said the board has yet to discuss the approval of the supply agreement.
"There has to be compliance based on pre-filing and filing based on ERC's rules. Depending on the complexity of power supply agreements, several hearings will be heard and that's only when the technical working group of the ERC will start its evaluation," Non told lawmakers.
Zarate said during a previous hearing on March 13 that consumers could lose P12.44 billion annually due to the supply deals.
"We hope to put an end to any speculation regarding anomalous undertakings or even midnight deals," said 1-CARE party list Rep. Carlos Uybarreta, vice chairman of the House Committee on Energy.